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Merlin’s Miraculous Recovery - A Rescue Dog with Gunshot Wounds - Part 1

animal behaviour animal communication animal emotions animal healing applied zoopharmacognosy essential oils plant medicines rehomed animal rescue animal Mar 29, 2024
Susannah with black and white English Pointer dog

Merlin, a five year old English Pointer was found in a terrible state. He had been shot in the face, neck and hindquarters with a shotgun, which had peppered him with lead shot. He had then been abandoned to fend for himself. He was filthy, emaciated and in a state of shock when he was rescued by an agency in Ireland. He was then transported to England for re-homing.

After operations to remove more than forty lead pellets from his body, he was able to join his new family. They were made aware that further health problems may follow, owing to pellets that could not be removed due to their close proximity to nerves and blood vessels. Ten pellets could still clearly be felt in Merlin's ears and throat area.

When I first met Merlin, the evidence of his mistreatment was still clearly visible, even after weeks of intensive care. He was terribly thin and covered in little wounds. He also had a grossly swollen toe which had been broken by two pellets. The vet feared that the toe would need to be amputated for Merlin to be able to walk normally in the future, as the bone was badly damaged and infected.

Merlin responded amazingly well to Applied Zoopharmacognosy and within minutes of being offered Valerian and Hops essential oils to inhale, to help him to relax, he clambered onto my lap and it was from this position that he enjoyed many of his self-selections. He would choose to be on my lap or his new Mum’s lap during his Zoopharmacognosy sessions and this seemed to reinforce his feelings of security and comfort, as he chose his own natural plant medicines to help himself return to full health.

This was fantastic for Merlin and his new Mum, as it quickly deepened their bond with one another. I showed her how to understand from Merlin’s reactions to the oils and plant remedies, what he needed most and how he indicated he would like to receive it. This was either by inhaling it, licking it or wanting it stroked onto him and I also showed her how to know where he wanted it to be applied.

Zoopharmacognosy empowered Merlin’s new Mum in his care and recovery. To be able to give such a poorly dog what he needed, when and where he needed it and to be able to provide him with remedies that were clearly helping him to feel better, was an extraordinarily emotional and touching experience to be closely involved in. It showed very clearly how important it is to listen to an animal and to then support them in the healing they request and to trust their inner knowing.

Many of Merlin’s favourite essential oils and absolutes were the oils that are often self-selected by rescue animals and those that have suffered emotional trauma, loss, anxiety and a change of circumstances. These included Valerian, Neroli, Rose Otto, Yarrow, Linden Blossom and Violet Leaf. These oils seem to help in supporting an animal to overcome any traumas they have experienced, helping them to release both the memory and the emotions associated with it. Merlin expressed this with pronounced emotional releases while inhaling these oils. He would start shuddering, whining and shaking and then fall into a deep sleep. When he woke up, he would repeat the process, allowing himself to receive deep healing through his interactions with the remedies. He was gradually able to reach relaxation more easily over several sessions.

Merlin was desperate to lick Violet Leaf absolute in every session and also to have it applied topically to his chest and head where he had suffered some of his worst injuries. Violet Leaf is often selected by animals who have changed homes and those who suffer from anxiety. It has some pain-relieving properties and is also popular with animals who are anticipating pain, such as those that fear visits to the vet or that dislike being touched if they have suffered a past abuse. In Merlin’s case he may well have been associating close human contact and touch with being hurt. Self-selecting Violet Leaf helped him to overcome this fear and he began to really trust his new Mum, becoming happier with being touched where his injuries had been sustained.

One amazing moment during our second session came after Merlin had licked 2.5ml of Violet Leaf. I offered Linden Blossom absolute and Yarrow for Merlin to inhale and he inhaled both, shuddered, sighed and placed his wounded paw into his Mum’s hand before going deeply to sleep. This was a turning point in their relationship, as Merlin showed his total trust in his new Mum.

Please see part 2 of Merlin’s Miraculous Recovery, to learn more about Merlin’s amazing journey back to health.

If you would like to read more about Applied Zoopharmacognosy, you can find information here. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. If you have a rescue animal, or are planning to rehome an animal, please do get in touch and have a chat with me about any concerns you may have.

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